When researching dinnerware in the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances & Technology Lab, we evaluated classic ware in a range of prices, weights, and styles. Our picks include best -selling models from long-standing brands, many of which have replacement programs for broken and defective dinnerware.
When bone ash is added to porcelain, it becomes a delicate, slightly translucent, and perfectly-constructed material that has a milky white, luminous glaze. Bone china is lightweight and thin, but it is considered the most durable ceramic dinnerware.
Heavier, thicker, less durable, and more porous than bone china and porcelain, stoneware is relatively inexpensive. Stainless steel utensils often leave marks on lightly glazed stoneware: This is not an imperfection and can be wiped off with commercially available cleaners.
(Earthenware is similar to stoneware in its organic design, but more prone to chipping.) Both are great options for daily use if you don’t mind the extra care required.
Laminated glass (also called Michelle) is an incredibly durable (we tested it) material proprietary to the Corell brand. Each set serves one, four, six, eight, or twelve people, depending on the brand.
Recently, mugs have been left out of sets to adjust to modern preferences. Open stock pieces are coordinated to match and it gives you the flexibility of creating your own set based on what you like and need.
Made of bone china, reviewers love that the pieces are light, thin, practically flawless, and stack neatly. Although they look delicate, they are durable enough to withstand the rigor of daily use: You do not have to set them aside only for special occasions.
You can buy different color sets to mix and match or to decorate for the holidays. We also love that the Fiesta brand is committed to sustainability by creating conscious and actionable plans.
It not only gives you the perfectly-sized serving piece for any meal, we love that you can use the handy-sized bowls for kitchen prep work. An exclusive to Macy’s, this best -selling dinnerware set is made of light and durable porcelain, perfect for daily use.
Federal Platinum 5-Piece Place SettingLenoxmacys.Comte Leno Federal Platinum dinnerware set has all the characteristics that makes bone china luxurious and perfect for special occasions). Although these are not microwavable (the platinum trim will get damaged), they are made of bone china, the most durable material, and have a simple, timeless design.
We recommend these for special occasions and think the superior quality is well worth the price. Color wave Coupe 4-Piece Place SettingNoritakemacys.these coupe-shaped rimless dinnerware are a soft and creamy off-white shade that is typical of stoneware.
We love the simple clean lines, the matte-textured exterior, and the glossy glazed interior that prevents scratching and food from getting stuck. Some reviewers noted that the pieces get very hot in the microwave over time, and silverware can leave scratch-like markings on the surface.
The set is made of feldspar porcelain, which makes them very durable and smooth. The flat plates feature slightly angled edges, while the bowls have sharper ones that add contrast to the overall design.
Rustic Outdoor Melamine 12-Piece Dinnerware Set Williams Sonomawilliams-sonoma.melamine dinnerware is a great choice for outdoor dining because they will not scratch, chip or break, even when dropped on a hard surface. The Williams Sonoma dinnerware has a rustic look with stylish wide rims reminiscent of stoneware, but they are made of BPA-free melamine.
The collection includes serving platters, bowls, and chargers sold separately to further elevate your outdoor dining experience. We love the rustic free-form rims, slim profile, and rippled organic design of these porcelain pieces.
Material : Porcelain Number of settings : Pieces sold individually Dishwasher-safe : Yes Microwave-safe : Yes This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
The Wedgwood White 5-Piece Place Setting is thin, light, and practically flawless, so it looks and feels like fine china but is tough enough for daily use. This set has a bright creamy hue similar to that of the Gdansk Ingram dinnerware, and a simple yet sophisticated design.
We found some minor imperfections, but the overall quality of this set far exceeds its low price, and we like its clean lines and simple design. The Aspen collection even allows you to choose mugs or teacups and soup or cereal bowls, which is unusual for most dinnerware in this price range.
Material: porcelain Buying options: fully open stock or in open-stock sets of eight (in stores and online) Serving pieces: none After 130 hours of research, we’ve created a buying guide to help you find a set of dinnerware you’ll love.
Those experts included Eddie Ross, the co-founder and chief content creator of Maximalist Studios and the former design, decorating, and food editor for Better Homes & Gardens, Food Network, Martha Stewart Living, and House Beautiful; Marion Hover, former tabletop decorative gifts buyer for Macy’s; and chef Candy Argondizza, vice president of culinary and pastry arts at the International Culinary Center at the time of our interview. To determine the durability and availability of dinnerware collections, I relied heavily on customer reviews from Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, and Williams Sonoma.
Prior to joining Wire cutter, I was an editor at the International Culinary Center in New York City, and I worked in various facets of the food and restaurant industry for over a decade. An all-white porcelain or bone china dinnerware set is classic, timeless, and versatile enough to work for any occasion.
Whether you’re looking for a full set of everyday dinnerware or choosing a few plates for a holiday gathering, white ware is the best choice. Photo: Sarah KobosWith thousands of patterns to choose from, shopping for a set of dinnerware can be a daunting task.
Dinnerware can be made from a variety of materials, but we’ve limited our selection to all-white porcelain or bone china due to its aesthetic appeal, resilience, and practicality. Good dinnerware should be a neutral canvas for any meal: As chef Candy Argondizza noted, “A simple white plate allows the food to make a statement so that the diner’s eye is drawn to the food with no distractions.” Decorated sets can be exciting, but they’re also more likely to become dated with time, so we avoided those with any designs.
And although we think stoneware is another great option for everyday dinnerware, it typically isn’t white and varies a lot in style, so it was beyond the parameters we set for this guide. We also searched for dinnerware collections that you can purchase open stock, which allows you to customize the set to suit your needs and to replace the dish or two that will inevitably break.
That said, we also tested a handful of newer sets in order to include some options with more modern styling, and we checked with the manufacturer to confirm that they would remain in production for the foreseeable future. We’ll continue to monitor the availability of our picks, but we’ve confirmed with each manufacturer that if stock is low or unavailable, it’s only temporary.
The dinner and salad plates from each of our recommended sets (clockwise from top left): Gdansk Ingram, Crate and Barrel Aspen, Williams Sonoma Brasserie, and Wedgwood White. Photo: Sarah KobosAfter considering hundreds of dinnerware collections in stores and online, we settled on 30 place settings to test for our 2019 update (roughly 140 pieces of dinnerware in all), and invited 15 Wire cutter staff members to evaluate them in our New York City test kitchen.
Our testers examined each dinnerware set for any visible flaws, such as the drippy glaze on the Macy’s Cellar White ware Rim Collection (now discontinued). Photo: Sarah KobosAfter our test panel helped narrow down the list, we took a plate from each of our top-rated sets and scratched it with a fork and knife 50 times to see if the utensils damaged the glaze or left metalmarks.
Finally, we refrigerated a mug or teacup from each of our picks and filled each with boiling water to see if the extreme change in temperature caused them to break. Why it’s great: The Gdansk Ingram Bone China Dinnerware Collection was a favorite among our testers because it’s casual yet elegant, and versatile enough for both everyday use and entertaining.
It has a bright, creamy color and a slight translucency, both of which help it look more refined than many of the blue-gray porcelain sets we tested. We also appreciated the slight dimple around the perimeter of the dinner plates, which helps keep sauces from running aimlessly to the edge of the rim.
The salad/dessert plate is big enough for a small salad or two slices of pie, and the bowl is wide and deep enough to hold a substantial amount of cereal or soup. The curved shape of the mug sits comfortably in the hand, and its 13-fluid-ounce capacity is plenty big for a morning cup of Joe.
Leno, founded in 1889, is a trusted American dinnerware company that has manufactured the White House china for six presidents. Leno sells many patterns that have been around for years, and we confirmed with a representative that the company has no plans to discontinue the Gdansk Ingram collection in the foreseeable future (though we’ll keep an eye on it).
But since the glaze was so even and the overall quality of this set is great, we’re not bothered by these occasional blemishes, which are normal for most dinnerware sets in this price range. Why it’s great: In our tests, the Wedgwood White 5-Piece Place Setting stood out on a crowded table of dinnerware for its bright creamy hue, attractive translucency, and simple but sophisticated look.
If you often entertain, the saucers are handy for resting a demitasse spoon, holding a small cookie, and keeping coffee rings off your tablecloth. The saucer is nice for resting a demitasse spoon, holding a piece of candy, and keeping your tablecloth free of coffee or tea rings.
Photo: Sarah KobosAccording to the Wedgwood representative we spoke to, the original design for the White dinnerware was introduced in 1920, though newer pieces have been added to the collection over the years. Since the set has stood the test of time, replacing any broken items or growing your collection in the years to come shouldn’t be an issue.
Wedgwood, which dates back to the mid 1700s, has a long history of making high-quality ceramics for various heads of state and royal families, including custom dinnerware for the White House during President Theodore Roosevelt’s term in 1903. Photo: Sarah Hobos Flaws but not deal breakers: The five-piece setting comes with bread-and-butter plates instead of bowls, which probably isn’t as practical for most people.
Plus, as mentioned earlier, Wedgwood sells a four-piece place setting that includes a bowl and mug instead of a bread-and-butter-plate and a teacup and saucer. Some testers who were accustomed to thicker dinnerware mistook the thinness of bone china as an indication of poor quality.
Why it’s great: The Williams Sonoma Brasserie All-White Dinnerware collection feels similar to durable restaurant dishes, but it’s still refined and not at all clunky like the plates you’d use at a diner. The porcelain has a slightly gray hue compared with the creamy white of bone china, but in our tests we were impressed with the overall quality of this set, which had almost no visible pitting and an even glaze.
Photo: Sarah Hobos Flaws but not deal breakers: At just under 2 pounds, the Brasserie dinner plate is about 10 ounces heavier than the Gdansk Ingram dinner plate, and our testers who preferred lighter bone china found the set too heavy overall, though most still liked its classic styling. Photo: Sarah Hobos Get this if: You want an inexpensive but stylish set of porcelain dinnerware and won’t find some minor imperfections bothersome.
Remarkably, the collection isn’t plagued by the pitfalls of most dinnerware in this price range, such as wonky plate rims, drippy glaze, and pitting. Although we spotted some very minor inconsistencies on the surface of the glaze, this set’s quality far exceeds its low price.
Their slightly angled rims, like those in the Brasserie set, make these plates easy to hold and help keep food from spilling. The Aspen dinnerware has been sold at Crate and Barrel for more than 20 years and has excellent owner reviews that attest to its quality and longevity.
Photo: Sarah Hobos Flaws but not deal breakers: As we mentioned earlier, the Aspen set has some minor inconsistencies on the surface of the glaze, but you can detect these only when you hold the pieces up to the light. Although the Aspen set is slightly bluer than our other picks, we don’t think this is a problem unless you plan to use it next to creamier bone china serving pieces.
Photo: Sarah KobosAlthough most dinnerware is designed to be dishwasher and microwave safe, professor of ceramic engineering and materials science William Party told us that neither ATM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) nor the American National Standards Institute has a standard test. That said, we don’t think you should worry too much about your dishes being damaged in the dishwasher or microwave (unless the manufacturer explicitly advises against putting them in either appliance).
If for some reason metalmarks develop after prolonged use, Heritage recommends using Bar Keepers Friend to remove them. Photo: Sarah KobosAlways retrieve plates from the top of a stack rather than sliding them out from the middle, to avoid unnecessary pressure that could scratch or break them.
Also, avoid subjecting your dinnerware to extreme temperature changes, such as pouring boiling water into a cold teacup, as this can cause breakage due to thermal shock. The Villeroy & Boch Royal 30-Piece Bone Porcelain Set was our former upgrade pick, but it is now available only by special order.
Several customer reviews on the Bed Bath & Beyond site say the mugs and teacups crack when filled with hot water. We ran a series of thermal-shock tests and had no problems, and the Fitz and Floyd customer service representative we spoke to was not aware of the issue.
IKEA’s 365+ Dinnerware did well in our tests and is very inexpensive, but it doesn’t offer as many pieces as the affordable Crate and Barrel Aspen set. The Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Dinnerware Collection was our former budget pick, but in our new round of testing, we noticed that the quality had diminished.
This set looked notably gray next to our picks and had uneven plate rims plus a drippy, inconsistent glaze. Crate and Barrel’s Token Dinnerware was unavailable at the time of our testing this round, so we were unable to include it in our review.
The coupe plates in Fortress’s Caldera 16 Piece Place Setting have a sloped shape that was popular among our testers. In our tests, the Fiesta 3pc Bistro Place Setting was polarizing due to its thickness and the ridges around the perimeter of each piece.
The Aaron Robyn Bone China Dinnerware set, which is sold at both West Elm and Pottery Barn, has a coupe shape similar to that of our main pick from Gdansk. We also ruled out a number of dinnerware collections from Bloomingdale’s, CB2, Gdansk, Emerson Creek Pottery, Fish's Eddy, Food52, The Home Depot, Jay Import Co., Julissa, Leno, Michael C. FINA, Heritage, Rosenthal, Royal Moulton, Spoke, Target, Villeroy & Boch, Walmart, Wedgwood, and Year & Day for a variety of reasons, including polarizing designs, unappealing color, insufficient or unfavorable reviews, limited stock, replacement problems, high prices, or quality issues.
William M. Party and Dayan Separate, Porcelain-Raw Materials, Processing, Phase Evolution, and Mechanical Behavior, Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 1998 After 130 hours of research, we’ve created a buying guide to help you find a set of dinnerware you’ll love.